Park City music community mourns the loss of Dr. Fredric Cook
March 29, 2016
The Utah music scene lost one of its beloved leaders on Thursday.
Dr. Fredric William Cook, actor, educator, owner of Park City Music and founder of the Utah Conservatory, passed away at his home in Park City on Thursday, March 24.
He was 75.
Cook was known to all as an accomplished actor and performer, a knowledgeable historian and teacher and, most of all, a cheerleader whose vision and enthusiasm boosted the confidence in not only the Utah Conservatory students, but also locally based semi and professional musicians.
Shelle Jennings, known for founding the 16-voice Park City Treble Makers and for her work as the music director in the Park City Follies, will miss that enthusiasm.
"One of the things that I have always thought about Fred was that he believed there was always room under the big top," Jennings told The Park Record. "It didn’t matter what you were doing creatively, Fred thought: the more the merrier — the more we had, the better off we all were."
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Cook was born in Rochester, New York, and as an award-winning actor, playwright, and director of more than 55 stage productions, Cook performed in film, stage and TV and founded the Los Angeles Academy of Dramatic Arts. He was also a founding member of the Berkeley Repertory Company.
Randy Barton, Egyptian Theatre manager, remembered when the Cooks moved to Park City in the late 1990s.
"I featured them in a piece I did at the Egyptian Theatre called ‘Local Wonders of the World,’" Barton said. "Dr. Cook was a very fine actor and appeared in multiple productions at the Egyptian Theatre. He last graced our stage recently in the Park City Holiday Spectacular in December."
The Egyptian Theatre performances were only part of the gift Cook gave Park City, Barton said.
In 1997, the Cooks, along with Aaron Mitchell, started a music store on Historic Main Street and set aside studio space for lessons.
In 2000, to accommodate their growing enrollment, the Cooks and Mitchell established a conservatory known as the Community School for the Arts.
Two years later, the Cooks changed the name to the Utah Conservatory and relocated to Kimball Junction. After 11 years, the Cooks moved the Utah Conservatory to its present location at 4593 Silver Springs Dr.
Leslie M. Harlow, founder of the Park City Beethoven Festival, remembered meeting Cook right before he established the Utah Conservatory.
"Fred was a deep thinker and talked about his approach to teaching and his positive view of life and the universe," she said. "Fred recently reminded me about that talk we had, and he talked about the joys of retirement and the fact that he as an artist was never really retired."
The last time Harlow saw Cook perform was during the Interfaith Council’s Second Annual Messiah Sing-Along at the Eccles Center on March 20.
"(We) were so pleased to see Fred also singing in the chorus for the performance," Harlow said.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, April 1, at the Jeremy Ranch LDS Ward, 3010 West Saddleback Rd., at noon. Friends may visit the family from 9:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. at the church. Donations in honor of Dr. Fredric Cook can be made to the Utah Music Scholarship Fund at the Utah Conservatory, or to the Fredric Cook Memorial Fund at Wells Fargo Bank. Guestbook to post messages and tributes by visiting http://www.holbrookmortuary.com .
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